Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hating on Tim Tebow and Having No Idea Why: A Critic's Confusion

   Think back to Jesus. He was a cool guy, I like to imagine. He was probably the best conversationalist at the (Last) supper table, he told a lot of neat stories, and he knew how to pass around the wine. On top of all of this, he was the nicest freaking guy in the history of . . . ever. Jesus was the opposite of the big bad college bro who headlines all the parties in the world today, because Mr. Christ does not need a lifted truck and a keg to make people happy (plus he does not fall under the stereotypical “total jerk” category).
   Tim Tebow is similar to Jesus in this sense, except that I totally hate the guy.
   I have not the faintest idea why, however. I just know that I love to see that guy lose. Seriously, it is weird. I hate Tim Tebow, but I should not, because I have no reason to hate him. He is successful, athletic, inspiring, faithful, and has a sense of integrity that would make Gandhi feel guilty. It should be awe-inducing, but instead, some sports fans find it disgusting. Why?
   Maybe we wish we were him. After all, no one can wear their faith on their sleeve like Tebow can. He is constantly opening up about his relationship with God, and it is not something that many people can do. He has won just about everything he has attempted, and he has been all over the globe on some mission trip or another, and he is receiving millions of dollars to sit on a bench and let broadcasters give him tips on national television. What the hell.
   Does all of this make Tim Tebow really hard to relate with? Absolutely. Nobody succeeds in every aspect of their life. Nobody has the courage to travel all over the world and profess their beliefs and work to make it a better place. And pretty much nobody makes millions of dollars to sit down and make sure that the Gatorade logo on their water bottle is tilted toward the camera.
   People like cheering for athletes who they feel they have a connection with. This connection can be established in a lot of ways. If you look at a guy like Tom Brady (who is practically a supermodel who just happens to be good at sports, and thus should not even be in this conversation), he has achieved his popularity through his underdog story with being a seventh-round draft pick. Peyton Manning showed his ability to relate to us mortals through his casual, blue-collar demeanor within his television ads. The everyday individual can connect with these folks because we have all experienced underdog stories in our own lives. We have all had to overcome various challenges of our own.
   If you asked me what the hardest part of Tim Tebow’s life was, I would say the criticism, but aside from that, does anyone know anything else that will help us connect with him? He was home-schooled (Are you freaking kidding me?! The guy barely had teenage-angst! Does he want us to bag on him?), he was highly recruited out of high school (the rest of us had to apply the old-fashioned way), and it appears that his highest level of work experience is the volunteer work he has done in the Philippines (I am not saying anything against that, because that is really amazing, but would it have been too much to ask for him to find a job at a Burger King or something? He could have quit after a week and it would not have mattered; it would have been something). Oh, and he wrote a book too. He has accomplished my personal life’s dream at the age of 24. Is that warranting enough to punch his perfect face?
   Maybe all of this criticism is a good thing. Could this be the adversity that we are looking for? If Tebow can overcome this and emerge into a fun, exciting player, I think a lot of people (myself included) would be ready to welcome him into their hearts with open arms. People who support him now are trying to point to things like leadership and winning as means of likeability. But can most of us relate to either? Most people work for somebody, and I am pretty sure that the last thing I won was a fantasy basketball league back in 2008. To a lot of people, these words are just extremely annoying; they do not convince us to start cheering for him. What will convince us is a story of overcoming the odds and defying all of the negativity that has surrounded Tebow since his rise to the pros.
   Tim Tebow is an amazing guy. I will be totally honest; he is everything everyone wants to be, but it seems that he is nothing anyone has been. I feel like a lot of people want to love the guy, what with all of his character and charity work, but we simply cannot. Right now, to a lot of average Joes and Josephines, Tebow is some kind of deity who has to come to show us the pinnacle of success, and then rub it all in our faces. Hopefully one day, all of this will change, because at the end of the day, a nice guy is just that: a really nice guy.
   The best part about hating Tim Tebow, though? If things do turn around, he will not be one of those guys to brag and say “See? I told you so!” Instead, Tebow is the kind of guy who will welcome his newfound popularity, and all of his former critics, with open arms. All is forgiven. What the heck, that is someone I think I can root for.

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